6 July 2012

Special thanks to Veritas Film, and everyone who worked for this beautiful documentary of our residency.

Special thanks to my lovely friends/colleagues from AiR Dubai for being that amazing!  I missed you all so badly..

5 April 2012


It's one day before leaving Dubai, and I am full of conflicting feelings. I'm so happy that I'm going back home, but on the other hand, I know that there will be lots of weeps and hugs today at the picnic in Safa Park, where everyone will see each other one last time. Eye make-up will be a mistake, should concentrate on tissues..

I met amazing people here, and some more of them in the last two weeks, as I had more chance to be lazy and to have amazing casual chats lately. Dubai now composes a very big part of my life, and my practice for my upcoming works, and I feel extremely lucky. So now would love to talk about what we have been up to in the last week.

We have been to Jamjar with Ali, and had chance to see the amazing show of Rebecca Rendell. Such plain but effective works, reminding us of "less is more". Different than the Tashkeel one, but still you can feel the same delicacy and immaculacy.  I think I will favour this one, to the Tashkeel show if I have to choose.
The use of light and shadows were as sculptural as the objects themselves.

On the same day, we also went to see Corrina's show in Ductac, which was again very good. Corrina had a 2 month residency there, which is based in a community art space in Mall of the Emirates. It should be such a different experience to have a residency completely on the other face of Dubai. We also saw Hassan Sherif's work who we met a couple of days ago at his space, Flying House. He is the oldest Emirati contemporary artist, who had his education in London in 70s. He returned back to Dubai, and did performances in the dessert. He didn't have any spectators of his work then, but now he is very respected righteously, and was invited to many shows around the world. We met very warmhearted people at the Flying House, and the space was very welcoming with artworks almost 'overflowing' all around the house.

This photo is for lovely Fayçal. I'm missing him, Kapwani and Jean Baptiste a lot. They are the amazing three in my mind, just like X-Men! Fayçal, bought me these amazing Tool cookies, as a thank you gift; but I am afraid I had to eat them, as I didn't have any place left in my luggage. So this is to document their beauty; the beauty of my tool cookies, on the exhibition catalogue of Ali's friend Sara's show. (I love that still, from a film in that show in Sharjah; Maraya Art Centre)

Random funny birds on the creek
And then two days ago, sweetheart Antonie, unexpectedly, took us to the old camel race track and later to the new one, on the Hatta, Al Ain Road. Finally we saw the robot camel jockeys, THEY ARE JUST SO CUTE AND AMAZING, AND I WANT ONE. Maybe I should make one... I don't want to start talking about my new project yet, but might maybe involve these sweet little drillmen with whips attached. 

Antonie is also very knowledgeable about what has happened before, and what is going on now in the city, so he is the perfect book on foot! Really helpful, and such a nice person, I'm so happy to have met him.

This unfinished Trojan Camel on scaffolds, set itself on fire in the middle of nowhere, where the new camel track is. Zeinab telephoned police. What a bizarre experience we had that day.
Police climbing, to extinguish the camel
A Robot Jockey

And eventually, we actualised our big sparkly welding workshop! It was just AMAZING! I was initially feeling so nervous, but then everything turned out really well. They didn't believe me, but honestly, everyone was very very good at welding and chopping with the grinder for a first time! Here are some photos from the workshop. Wish I had more.

Rami's very first tacks, are they not amazing!? He is really talented
Nice object he made, a box helmet!
This is Kim, wish I had photos from her work. She made a really nice armature for a clay model, which is incredibly useful and necessary. Apparently Rebecca and her already booked to work with the welder next week. How exciting!!

And Rebecca is always full of enthusiasm, everyone knows how much I like her work.
Rebecca's frame
Gemma is Rebecca's sweet cousin, who came from South London to visit her. She made this funny little man with fancy sun glasses, am wondering what she called him eventually. He deserves a name!
And this is Qinza. She is a great welder too. So upset that I don't have a photo of Burj Al Arab she built. She is very confident and comfortable with the welder now, I don't even have to be with her when she is welding. She said she will join Kim and Rebecca with their welding meeting next week!

Now I will be off to our big picnic in Safa Park, to see everyone for one last time and have a big feast. Later on tonight, we will go to Sherlock Holmes, our local pub at Arabian Courtyard. Ohhh, such a sad day today...Feeling really emotional..

Good bye  Dubai. See you later!

26 March 2012

The End

Art Dubai is over now. After 80 days of intense and laborious work, which passed in an eye blink, Art Dubai Fair, which is no longer than 4 days, actually took years to pass! The feedback was very satisfying though, and it was worth all that hard work. My coffee smell filled up the space, despite its outdoor location, and the meditative sound of my drum felt like a messenger of something about to happen.

With Special Thanks to Simon and Martin for their amazing helps with the magazine. I wouldn't be able to actualise this project without their contributions.
I finally could meet Simon Johnson, and Martin (Martin what's your surname?!) from That Magazine, and I met Zeynep and her amazing magazine Ice that she prepares and delivers  herself. Martin did an amazing job with propping my project into a very convincing book format, and I loved the way it looks! I can't wait to see them again when I go back to Istanbul. Many thanks guys!!

For the ones who could not find any chance to see the project, it is basically a half real, half mock up scientific article, where it is not possible to discriminate where the reality stops and the lie starts. It is suggesting alternative energy supplies which is very relevant especially in UAE context, who is about to run out of its oil supplies approximately in 10 years.

Fayçal had a performance in Art Dubai, as well as his amazing giant imitation incense burner he installed. Groups of cleaners overwhelmingly cleaned the space for a very long time. It was really spectacular, when the invisible becomes that much apparent.

I am soo happy to be able to meet this amazing person you see on the right hand side, Jasmina, who is a very good friend of Fayçal and Kapwani. She is such a lovely soul! And beautiful Nameera, from Sabancı University was there on the performance night too. It is indeed a great and comforting feeling to see a familiar face from the past.
It was very sad not to have Tom, after meeting adorable Kapwani and sweetheart Adrian on the week of Art Dubai. We were at this incredibly luxurious house for a private party. Champagne was a waterfall, and the food booths were from 30 different countries.There were 4 living rooms, and one of the living rooms was an island surrounded by water! This is the best part of being an artist, living a very poor life and owning the worlds for one day a year, and having your old life back again. I really love it! (I wish Tom was with me too...)

After I had my one to one tutorials with five very good, mostly Dubai based artists, I participated to Jamjar's site specific workshop with very young artist candidates. The departure point of the project was my Dubai Windcatcher, and then the kids built up their own tower from cardboard tubes. It was very enjoyable, very colourful and inspirational.

After having extremely busy days with meetings, presentations and workshops, today finally I could meet up with Denise and we had our picnic at the Creek Park, that I was dreaming for a long time. It was an unforgettable moment with lovely Denise, and hoping to see her again either in Beirut, or Glasgow. (Maybe in Dubai again!)

The rain for the first time almost 'blessed' this beautiful moment, and accompanied us with our journey back. I will always remember today.

Now it is 6.18pm in Dubai, and Studio 11 is officially closed 18 minutes ago. It is sad really. Just the word 'closed' gives me emotional moments. It has been three full on months, and now we came to the end, but in 'cheesy' words, a new beginning.

18 March 2012

"Somewhere In The Middle of Two, Southwest of One, And North of The Other": Windcatchers of Glasgow, Istanbul and Dubai

Deniz Uster’s homeland of Turkey is a mediatory culture deriving mainly from an oral history, which can be traced back to Middle Asia, Anatolia, and the Islamic Middle East. As an artist who collaborates with the language of epics and storytelling, she discovered that no tradition is original; which suggests that influence is an essential tool in the construction of culture.

The distinctive windcatchers of Bastakiya could be regarded as one of the clearest and oldest references to this ‘cultural crossbreeding’ in Dubai with its Persian influence. They are also one of the earliest basic mechanisms in Dubai that were built and expected to fulfill a specific function.

Utilising reverse functionality as her methodology, Uster constructs three windcatchers dedicated to Istanbul, Glasgow and Dubai, the cities that have  welcomed her and shaped her identity and practice; undressing them from their ‘capturing’ function, and turning them into ‘disseminating’ monuments. The kinetic components of each tower fortifies the idea of influx, transition and even failure if necessary. Furthermore, spreading respectively scent, humidity and sound; these towers house inner mechanisms as well as carrying a ‘vagrant’ look on the exterior.

Uster also strives to utilise remnants of construction materials to build her towers in order to explore the fabric and the economy of Art Dubai. She seeks to question the idea of  ‘reusing’ and to propose a form of ‘opposite alchemy’ that plays with the hierarchy of values we place on objects.